Reese Electric Inc.
- Written by: Molly Shaw
- Produced by: Sean O'Reilly
- Estimated reading time: 4 mins
Sometimes it comes down to being in the right place at the right time, which was the case for Randy Rema, president of Reese Electric Inc. (Reese Electric). In 2004 Randy acquired ownership of the Oregon-based electrical contracting company that is now one of the oldest and largest in the southern half of the state.
“I started at Reese Electric as a journeyman in 1995,” recalls Randy. “In January 2004, in concert with owner George Reese and his wife Sharen, we completed a five-year buy-sell agreement and I took over company ownership. It blew me away and I’m still shocked; I certainly was in the right place at the right time.”
A Family Focus
In his current position, Randy continues the company’s tradition of family ownership, with his own daughter joining the ranks at Reese Electric. “My daughter worked in our warehouse for a few years, getting familiar with materials and going to job sites,” shares Randy. “One day, she said, ‘Dad, you know- I can do this.’ She’s done it all on her own since and I’m just a proud dad.”
Since 1946 the full service electrical contractor has delivered trusted installations, maintenance, repairs and new construction up and down the southern Oregon coast with locations in Florence, North Bend, Bandon and Gold Beach. “We go from Newport to the California border and now beyond; that’s about 250 miles,” notes Randy. “We have 29 union employees; down from about 56 in 2007 because we had to scale back a bit. With the economic downturn, the Florence and Gold Beach offices have closed, but we still service those areas regularly from either North Bend or Bandon.”
But Randy proudly says that his employees are much more than a number. “I judge our success on the smiles on the faces of the people who work here,” he mentions. “We work like heck for eight hours a day, but then we try to have some fun.”
Above all else, Randy recognizes the importance of treating his employees well. “We’re very much a family business,” continues Randy. “I know my employee’s spouses and children. Every summer, over a weekend, we have a company camping event and a cookout. Six years ago, I also established a profit sharing program based on years and experience. When the company makes a profit, everyone gets a nice check just before Christmas, because I like to reward people for their hard work.”
Complete Electrical Contracting
The team at Reese Electric specializes in all phases of electrical work, including commercial, residential and industrial. “We do it all,” shares Randy. “Our flexibility is one of our best attributes and it’s helped us weather the economic down turn.”
Whether it be new homes, boat yards, hospitals and clinics or multiunit housing and generator installations, Reese Electric offers a wide array of service for any application. “We’re fully capable of designing and installing fire safety alarm systems from start to finish in-house,” adds Randy. “We install these systems for hospitals, clinics and nursing homes and we back it with 24-hour service. You can bet we’re on it; we’ve got guys rolling out the door.”
However, Randy admits that it hasn’t always been this way. “We used to put the infrastructure in place and hire someone else to pull it together and make it work, but about nine years ago, we decided we were missing out on a fair amount of work and profit so we brought more service in-house,” says Randy.
Now, the only components Reese Electric subcontracts are trenching and excavation work. “We have a set network of two or three subcontractors we know and trust, because we’ve worked with them for decades,” reveals Randy.
The team is currently completing a massive $1.8 million electrical rebuild of the Crescent City California Fishing Boat Harbor. “The site was leveled by the March 2011 tsunami that struck Japan,” he continues. “We’re excited to roll this one out, because it’s been a two-yearlong process.”
Reese Electric is also involved at the high-profile Coos Historical and Maritime Museum in Coos Bay, Ore., and a significant Coast Guard housing project. “We’re rehabilitating 12 housing units in Coos Bay with new lighting, heaters and bathroom upgrades,” notes Randy. “We also finished the Angell Jobs Corps project, consisting of 18 buildings on about 25 acres. We completed new emergency lighting, fire alarm system updates and lighting for the complex.”
The Track Record to Win Bids
Randy comments that he is extremely proud of the company’s commitment to its safety program. “We’re a member of the Associated General Contractors [AGC] organization and we’ve been recognized for our safety program by them, winning first place in Oregon six times and nationally twice, in 2008 and 2011,” he reveals. “We take safety seriously; it’s our No. 1 priority, over profit and anything else.”
As an International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) union contractor, Reese Electric also partners with the NECA Oregon Pacific Cascade Chapter association (NECA). “I sit on the area NECA board of directors and attending monthly meetings,” adds Randy. “NECA helps us negotiate our union contracts and helps answer our questions.”
Randy takes an active, front-seat role in both NECA and other community organizations from apprenticeship programs to the local community college. In 2008, he also spoke in front of the U.S. House Committee of Small Business in Washington, D.C., emphasizing the importance of tax credits and incentives for renewable energy technologies.
January 2014 will mark 10 years of ownership for Randy; however, big celebrations and fancy parties are not in the works. “I’ll be working,” he assures. “Team Reese is always at the ready, no matter the challenge.” It is evident that Randy’s hard-working attitude combined with family-style service has established Reese Electric Inc. as one of the most trusted contractors in the state.
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